Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 a person works at a computer during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille, France. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

  • Memon said: Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us

KARACHI: Amid cyberattacks on Pakistani banks, many account holders are cancelling their debit and credit cards to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.
“I’ve closed my online account because of ongoing cyberattacks,” businessman Abdul Samad Memon told Arab News on Wednesday. “The banks aren’t sharing details of what’s happening.”
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) recently seized the bank account of an ice-cream vendor that contained 2.25 billion Pakistani rupees ($16.84 million). And on Oct. 27, Bank Islami reported that its IT security had been breached. 
On Monday, local media reported the FIA’s cybercrime chief, Mohammad Shoaib, as saying customers’ data from almost every major Pakistani bank had been stolen in a recent security breach.
But the State Bank of Pakistan said there is “no evidence” to support Shoaib’s claim, and data from only one bank had been compromised.
On Oct. 26, the Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team (PakCERT), a cybersecurity services provider, reported a data dump on the dark web from more than 9,000 debit cards, of which 8,864 belonged to customers of Pakistani banks.
The compromised cards were sold for $100-$160, PakCERT said, adding that there was a second dump on Oct. 31 from more than 12,000 cards, 11,000 of them from Pakistani banks. A total of 19,864 cards were compromised from 22 Pakistani banks, it said.
Experts say the breaches were well organized. “The pattern of infiltration clearly shows that more than one entity was involved,” said financial and banking technologist S. M. Arif. “The withdrawals have taken place through financial systems, which means it’s a failure of multiple entities at multiple points.”
Banker A. B. Shahid told Arab News: “Customers believed that the banking systems were reliable and secure, but their confidence has been shaken.”
In the rush to promote electronic banking in Pakistan, banks had failed to take steps to install anti-hacking systems, he said. It will take banks several weeks to come up with a solution to online fraud, he added.
Memon said: “Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us.”


World’s 26 richest own same as poorest half of humanity: Oxfam

People are seen in a congress center ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 5 min 2 sec ago
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World’s 26 richest own same as poorest half of humanity: Oxfam

  • Oxfam warned that governments were exacerbating inequality by increasingly underfunding public services like health care and education at the same time as they consistently under-tax the wealthy

DAVOS, Switzerland: The world’s 26 richest people own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, Oxfam said Monday, urging governments to hike taxes on the wealthy to fight soaring inequality.
A new report from the charity, published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, also found that billionaires around the world saw their combined fortunes grow by $2.5 billion each day in 2018.
The world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, saw his fortune increase to $112 billion last year, Oxfam said, pointing out that just one percent of his wealth was the equivalent to the entire health budget of Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.
The 3.8 billion people at the bottom of the scale meanwhile saw their wealth decline by 11 percent last year, Oxfam said, stressing that the growing gap between rich and poor was undermining the fight against poverty, damaging economies and fueling public anger.
“People across the globe are angry and frustrated,” warned Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima in a statement.
The numbers are stark: Between 1980 and 2016, the poorest half of humanity pocketed just 12 cents on each dollar of global income growth, compared with the 27 cents captured by the top one percent, the report found.

Oxfam warned that governments were exacerbating inequality by increasingly underfunding public services like health care and education at the same time as they consistently under-tax the wealthy.
Calls for hiking rates on the wealthy have multiplied amid growing popular outrage in a number of countries over swelling inequality.
In the United States, new congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines earlier this month by proposing to tax the ultra-rich up to 70 percent.
The self-described Democratic Socialist’s proposal came after President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax reforms cut the top rate last year from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.
And in Europe, the “yellow vest” movement that has been rocking France with anti-government protests since November is demanding that President Emmanuel Macron repeal controversial cuts to wealth taxes on high earners.
“The super-rich and corporations are paying lower rates of tax than they have in decades,” the Oxfam report said, pointing out that “the human costs — children without teachers, clinics without medicines — are huge.”
“Piecemeal private services punish poor people and privilege elites,” it said, stressing that every day, some 10,000 people die due to lacking access to affordable health care.
The report, released as the world’s rich, famous and influential began arriving for the plush annual gathering at the luxury Swiss ski resort town, urged governments to “stop the race to the bottom” in taxing rich individuals and big corporations.
Oxfam found that asking the richest to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth “could raise more money than it would cost to educate all 262 million children out of school and provide health care that would save the lives of 3.3 million people.”